Sparkling Christmas Jam

Around the holidays I love to make special “gifts from the kitchen” for friends and family.  Most times, I make batches of cookies, breads, candies, or snack mixes.  This year, I made brown bread loaves and Sparking Christmas Jam for everyone.





I was doing a major house cleaning and I had stumbled upon a few boxes of cute little jelly jars.  I was in the mood for a major cleanup and I was trying to get rid of anything I hadn’t used in a while.  This wide mouth batch would work just fine for gift giving jars. I remembered that I had loads of frozen strawberries and cranberries in the freezer that I could use for the intended mix, so I quickly scrubbed the jars in warm soapy water and began to prep the recipe.  Here are the instructions that I used.  

I must admit, the recipe is not very precise and of course, canning is a precise science. When processing for home preservation where items are to be stored on shelves, I only use tested, reputable recipes. Therefore, I processed the jars as instructed but I asked those receiving a jar to KEEP IT IN THE FRIDGE for safety purposes.  I gave them cold, refrigerated jars to remind them where they should be stored. No need to get anyone sick via an oversight when canning! 

This is a scrumptious recipe.  Great with bread and butter or tea and toast… I’ve already gotten a few requests for another jar next year. The beginning of a tradition…?





Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Let’s make this a good one!

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Sweet Irish Brown Bread

I was recently given a collection of old community cookbooks.  The “giver” was doing a house remodel and was cleaning out her kitchen for a more updated look.  She had too many cookbooks and was looking to send a few of them my way.  Naturally, I was thrilled.  I love looking through old interesting recipes.  I stumbled across this brown bread recipe that looked quite tasty.  The ingredients reminded me of one of my favorite Irish bread recipes, with perhaps a bit more sugar that I am used to.  I quickly baked up a few loaves and my family was pleasantly surprised.  A simple loaf with a sweet, mellow flavor.  A great base for butter and jam.  

The Brown Bread recipe is pictured below…





The flavor was so wonderful, I baked up a load of loaves for Christmas gifts and packaged them with my Christmas Jam.



Easy Peasy Pound Cake

This week marks the beginning of the official holiday season.  Like many of you, my calendar is filled with holiday commitments, most of which require a carry-in dish or baked treat to bring along to the party.  I really enjoy this time of year and I do my best to take advantage of a few stress-free tips that can really simplify things.  One such tip would be to choose recipes that are easy yet flavorful.  The recipe below includes ingredients that are nearly always on-hand in my kitchen. It’s adapted from a recipe that I found in an old community cookbook many years ago.  This one’s a no brainer for me… It always turns out perfect.  A few simple ingredients bake up a moist and flavorful, good ole’ fashioned, pound cake.  

Easy Peasy Pound Cake

3 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups butter

6 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract

3/4 cup milk

Grease and flour a Bundt pan (take your time with this step, getting all of the softened butter and flour into all the nooks and crannies). DON’T PREHEAT THE OVEN.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla/almond extract and continue mixing well.

Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Beat until smooth batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan.

Place cake into the oven, set the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

Teriyaki Chicken Marinade



When I grill chicken, I usually use a bottled marinade to flavor and tenderize the meat.  Well, this week I ran out of my favorite supermarket brand and decided to revisit an old recipe of my own.  I often pair this marinade with a few finely chopped slices of pineapple to give it a Hawaiian flair.  A hearty helping of rice and vegetables works great with this teriyaki grilled chicken dish.

Teriyaki Chicken Marinade

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons white vinegar

 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 medium onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, graded

1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple, optional

In a medium bowl, mix the soy sauce, water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, oil, onions, garlic, and ginger. Whisk together until sugar is dissolved. Add optional pineapple.  Using a plastic bag or covered container.  Pour mixture over chicken pieces and marinate for 3 hours or overnight.  Grill or bake chicken until a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached.

Creamy Low-Carb (Mock) Mac and Cheese



I’ve been meaning to try this recipe adapted from a collection of similar recipes.  I happened to notice that our local grocer had riced cauliflower on sale and thought I would use the opportunity to make a little “comfort food” for this chilly Sunday afternoon.  The texture of the diced cauliflower simulates the texture of rice or noodles.  It’s certainly not exactly like my original version of mac and cheese that my family has grown to love, but it’s close enough for carb concious gals like me.

Creamy Low-Carb Mac and Cheese


1- 12 ounce bag riced cauliflower

3/4 cup cream or half and half

2 oz cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Steam or microwave riced cauliflower as directed. Pat dry with paper towels. Spray 13X9″ baking pan with non-stick spray. In a small saucepan bring cream to a simmer, add cream cheese stirring until cream cheese melts. Add dry mustard powder, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder; whisk to incorporate. Turn off heat and add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese slowly, stirring well to incorporate. Put cauliflower into prepared casserole dish, evenly pour cheese sauce over cauliflower.  Sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of cheese over the top. Bake at 375 degrees until topping is melted and beginning to brown, or about 15-20 minutes.  Remove  from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Back To School Blueberry Bread

It’s that time of year again… Back to school!   This is a great quick bread loaf to bake in quantity and pop in the freezer for lunchbox treats throughout the year.  We recently visited our daughter who has started her clinical year at a hospital in Illinois.  I brought along an assortment of quick breads that I carefully sliced and individually wrapped for the freezer.  This way, she can take out one slice at a time and pack it into her lunch bag for a morning snack or a lunchtime treat. As I think back to all of the blueberry recipes I’ve made for the family, this one is surely a winner!



Back to School Blueberry Bread

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon peel

GLAZE:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar or 1 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk, beating well. Fold in the blueberries, nuts and lemon peel.

Transfer to a greased 9X5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Continue to cool on a wire rack.  

Combine the glaze ingredients and drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely before slicing.



M’s Triple Chippers

 
This is a great basic cookie recipe that is truly scrumptious as the mix of chips adds a special taste to the batter.  Have you ever started a recipe only to find that you didn’t have all of the ingredients needed? 

Well, resourceful M found herself in this situation and took a simple recipe and added a mixture of chips that we had available on the baking shelf, turning this into an absolutely delicious treat.
M’s Triple Chippers

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons hot water

3 cups all-purpose flour 

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup peanut butter chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter; stir completely.  Stir in flour, salt, and chips.  Use large ice cream scoop to drop onto cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.